15 Best Festivals in Singapore to enjoy Ethnic Culture!
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Singapore Essentials

Singapore Festivals

Mainland Singapore is an exuberant celebration of life all through the year in itself. More so, the festivals in Singapore are even more a reason to experience the extravaganza and vibrancy that this country lures people all across the globe. Singapore festivals are way more than just festivals. They are the honest reflection of its opulence in culture, ethnicity, and multi-hued traditions.

Whether there’s Pongal for Tamilians, Deepawali for the Hindus, Christmas for the Christians, or Lantern Festival for the kids and adults, Singapore makes it a gala time for everyone. Multi-ethnicity, multi-culture, and multi traditions during festivals all year round bring together people and light up the streets and markets of Singapore and their homes in a festive spirit.

Here are some of the festivals that are celebrated in Singapore:

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Rejoicing a bountiful harvest and thanking the Sun god for his blessings mark the beginning of a Tamilian extravaganza. Pongal is celebrated by Tamilians every year during the tenth month of the Tamil Calendar that falls around mid-January. It is one of the most celebrated festivals in Singapore owing to a decent Tamilian population in the country

People throw away their old possessions and bask in new beginnings. Furthermore, a big celebration involving thanksgiving ceremonies and cooking a smorgasbord of cuisines mark the beginning of this auspicious festival of Pongal. Singapore celebrates Pongal for four days. Head down to celebrate and drown in the colors of the festivities.  

- January 15, 2020, to January 18, 2020. 

- Campbell Lane in Little India

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Chinese New Year

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Catch lion or two dancing while you marvel at the flurry of celebrations that take place during the Chinese New Year in Singapore. Celebrated for 15 days at a stretch, Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the new Lunar calendar. The entire island is lit up and adorned with red all over. Moreover, the island gleams with Chinese words on the roads and festive air to breathe in.

Celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice, this festival begins with people getting rid of negative energies in their homes through spring cleaning. Take a walk in the night markets and get ready to be smitten by lights and festivities. Chinese New Year brings families close while they feast together and pray to their ancestors.

- January 25, 2020

- Houses and Night Markets

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With a vibrant mix of ethnicity, Singapore is home to Hindu Tamilians and more. Thaipusam is one of the most significant festivals in Singapore that observes a thousand Hindu devotees thanking Lord Murugan for his blessings and gifts.

Did you know that the preparations start a month before the actual festival with all the devotees following a strictly vegetarian diet? A long procession with takes place wherein the devotees carry Kavadi while their bodies are pierced. They take this as a ceremonial sacrifice for Lord Murugan. Also, Kavadi is intricately decorated with colors and flowers. All of this is complemented by the sound of traditional drums and foot tapping beats.

- February 8, 2020 

- A long procession through the streets takes place

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Lantern Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival)

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Marking the end of the autumn harvest and ascension of the Moon goddess Chang E to the moon, Mid-Autumn festival in Singapore observes a thousand lanterns lit by kids and families while they sit back and bask in the glory of the moon after dusk.

The kids nibble on mooncakes while the families host moon-viewing parties and drink in Cassia Wine.  Take a walk down the Chinatown and get yourself some of the most beautiful examples of craftsmanship and artistry. The lanterns lighting up the alley will take your breath away.

- September 13, 2019

- Chinatown 

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Vesak Day

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Marking the auspicious birth, enlightenment, and death of the great Lord Buddha, Vesak day is one of the most significant and holiest Singapore festivals. Vesak day falls on the 15th day of the fourth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

The devotees get together to host a myriad of colorful prayer flags, light candles, and incense sticks and sing hymns as offerings to Lord Buddha.

- May 7, 2020

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Dragon Boat Festival

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Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most delightful and historically significant festivals in Singapore. As a tribute to Qu Yuan – A political minister known for his honesty, Dragon Boat festival observes long boats racing with heads like that of dragon’s being rowed at the pace of the drums being played.

Singapore witnesses' people cheering up for their favorite team while the flags are waved with much enthusiasm. The Dragon Boat Festival is a pure blend of camaraderie and patriotism.

- June 7, 2019

- Marina Reservoir

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Hari Raya Puasa

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The end of Ramzan brings about a time to celebrate and rejoice in the love of Allah. Hari Raya Puasa is one of the holiest festivals of Muslims in Singapore. Following a visit to the mosques early in the morning, all the Muslims go and visit the graves of their loved ones.

Their homes are lit since the 20th day of Ramzan till the Hari Raya Puasa day.  Furthermore, it’s a time of celebration and people consider it as the day that brings positivity and goodness in their lives.

- May 23, 2020

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National day

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Marking the day Singapore achieved independence, National Day is a celebration of freedom itself. If you find yourself smitten by red and white all across the island, consider yourself in the best of the spirits of the National Day. Parades take place showcasing the discipline and camaraderie of the army.

Furthermore, an extravaganza of multicultural song and dance performances attracts the crowd from everywhere. Also, the vibrant energy and the beautiful displays along with some mind-blowing firework will make you never want to leave. 

-  August 9 every year.

- Float at Marina Bay

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Brace yourself for a good light show and festivities if you happen to be in Singapore on Deepavali.Known to celebrate the victory of good over evil, Deepavali is one of the most culturally opulent festivals in Singapore.

People light up their houses, exchange gifts and sweets and host dinner parties with a delicious smorgasbord of authentic Indian cuisine. 
Little India is decked up with strings, floral garlands, and lights a day before the actual celebration and people take a hundred photographs while they exchange conversations with each other. 

- October 27, 2019

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Hari Raya Haji

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Also known as the festival of sacrifice, Hari Raya Haji is a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s trust in God and his willingness to sacrifice his own son for him. The devout dress up and go to mosques to offer prayers and listen to sermons.

Although it is basically a celebration, cows, sheep, lambs, and goats are sacrificed for God in a ceremony known as ‘Korban’. The sacrificial animal is later cleaned and cooked to devour which is followed by Muslims visiting each other’s place and conversing over lavish meals.  

- August 11, 2019. 

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Hungry Ghost Festival

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Alright, you can’t chicken out now. The Hungry Ghost Festival is a Chinese festival that is believed to be the festival when the dead roam the Earth. Scared? Don’t be. As long as you are making offerings to them, you can steer clear from the products of their mischief.

The ghosts are believed to have material needs in their afterlife which are taken care of by the people when they leave money, cars, pieces of jewelry, etc. outside in the bins to please their dead relatives. Furthermore, Chinese operas and lavish dinners are organized in Ang Mo Kio and Yishun to have these ghosts fed well with food and entertainment. 

- 15th August every year

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Singapore International Festival of Arts

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Promoting various art forms like music, dance, and visual arts, Singapore International Festivals of Arts hosted by the Arts House Limited is one of its kinds in Singapore.If you’re an art fanatic, this is the place for you. From art exhibitions to Shakespeare on the stage, you’ll be witnessing a blend at this annual festival. 

- During the months of May and June.

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Singapore River Festival

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Singapore river festival is an exuberant showcasing of multi cultures, arts, music, and dance by the waters in Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, Empress Place and Robertson Quay along the Singapore River every year for a week. Speaking of, this festival observes magicians, fun parades, and DJs grooving it up to make you sway and be thankful for the life.

You can even show your admiration for entertainment, dining, and good food while you’re at it. Singapore River festival is one of its kinds that lets you lose and chill forgetting the worries in the world for a week. 

- Around September and October this year.

- Singapore River

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Chingay Parade in Singapore is the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Get yourself lost in the party with masquerades and costumes. Chingay is a Chinese word that means the art of costume and masquerade. Hence, the celebration. Do you like exploring different cultures and backgrounds?

This annual extravaganza is just what you need to attend to witness a breathtaking amalgamation of a myriad of cultures celebrating life. From dance to music, a colossal cultural performance happens by the people belonging to different ethnicity. Did you know that this one is Asia’s largest street performance and float parade? 

- February  

- Street parade

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You don’t need to build snowmen to rejoice in the spirit of Christmas. Singapore with it's over the top Christmas spirit, decked up streets, lit boulevards, and lip-smacking dishes is everything you could ever ask for this Christmas.

Take a walk along the Orchard Road and marvel at the lit up festivities. Furthermore, Yuletide menus are available everywhere to best feel Christmas. The island becomes a happy amalgamation of multi-cultures celebrating life and happiness. 

- December 25 every year.

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People Also Ask About Singapore

  1. What are the famous food festivals in Singapore?

    1. Singapore Food Festival: Dedicated to the uplifting of the local cuisine and fresh talents of the country, this festival offers a great variety of food items that you cannot help but feel your mouth water at the mere sight.  

    2. Michelin Guide Street Food Festival: The opportunity to taste some of the delicious dishes of street foods from the Michelin starred food shops is bound to make you more hungry than ever.

    3. World Food Fair: Celebrated in September for, over a period of four days, this particular food festival displays the Korean, Asian, and Chinese delicacies. Even amidst the various international cuisines, the local foods are a crowd favorite.  

    4. Yummy Food Expo: Celebrated for almost four days in the month of June, this food festival offers more than a thousand food items. The Singaporean cuisine and the diversity of the eateries available will make you hungry the moment you get in. 
  2. What are the main festivals celebrated in Singapore?

    1. Thaipusam: Essentially a Tamilian Hindu festival where the devotees worship Lord Murugan, it is now celebrated with grandeur in Singapore. Long processions with drums and several people carrying a Kavadi can be seen. 

    2. Chinese New Year: Celebrated for almost 15 days, the festive mood of the Chinese New Year will fill your spirit with positive energy. The prominence of the color red can be seen all over.

    3. Dragon Boat Festival: This festival consists of boats with the front adorned with the head of a dragon to pay homage to a political figure in Singapore, Qu Yuan. There are races, and people accumulate in large numbers to cheer for their team with great enthusiasm. 

    4. Christmas: Singapore definitely knows how to imbibe the spirit of Christmas by lighting up its streets and making Yuletide menus widely available. A stroll along Orchard Road and you will be star-struck by the overall beauty.